220mhz 1.25M band......
I understand VHF/UHF... line of sight... but i have never had anything 220mhz... is it not as good as 2M, but better than 70cm? is there ANY kind of simplex activity? how about the digital..... is it limited to only the local 220mhz repeaters? can someone please tell me any info that would want me to get into a 220 radio.... maybe something i dont know about. 73
My personal opinion......
In most part of the country, 220 MHz is almost a dead sea! Yes, there is some activity, an in some areas, it is quite active. This said, I personally would never rely on it as an every day band.
The problem with 222 MHz is that it is an amateur radio band only in ITU Region II (North and South America) and, therefore, the Japanese radio manufacturers provide coverage of that band as an "after-thought" if at all! Depending on the area, there is a fair amount of 222 MHz activity, especially on FM, or absolutely no activity. There are a number of active FM repeaters around the country.
During the various VHF contests there is some activity on CW and SSB in a lot of areas. I do have 222 MHz capability and occasionally get on the band. But, unless there is a contest going on I don't have many contacts.
In the early 1970s the EIA (old RMA) was pressuring the FCC to establish a Class "E" Citizen's Radio Service in the 220 MHz to 222 MHz segment using FM. A number of the Japanese manufacturers were so sure that this would be adopted and started manufacturing FM equipment for that band. When the FCC did not approve the new band, the manufacturers were "stuck" with a quantity of these FM units. To "get rid of them", they "dumped" them on the United States amateur radio market. I have one of these radios that I have had for literally 4-decades! It was sent to me to review when I was the first FM Editor of CQ Magazine.
I love 220. It can be a lonely place tho. A few hams and myself use it around here. It is nice to be able to drive around and not hear any intermod. I have made an approximate 100 mile contact while I was mobile (he has using a beam). It propagates like 2m and "penetrates" 440. You can have a low signal level and the audio still sounds good. I am using an Alinco DR-235 with a larsen 220 antenna for mobile and a Tram 220 for base use.
One radio to go look at is the tyt 9000. They seem to be getting good reviews and you can pick one up for about $150.
The K5EHX web site doesn't find any 222 MHz repeaters that cover your part of Florida.
In places where 222 is active, it can be a fun band. The difficulty of obtaining equipment tends to keep the riffraff out, and it's a favorite place for people who want to do slightly offbeat things with repeaters and other stuff, because they normally won't be annoying anybody else. More 222 gear is becoming available in recent times - there's a Chinese rig from TYT, I believe, and Alinco and Jetstream offer mobile rigs. Several manufacturers offer HT's for this band, and there are even commercially made repeaters available.
The propagation is indeed a cross between 144 and 440. Tropo works better at the higher frequency, and 222 gets more bounce from things like mountains, with less vegetation absorption than on 440.
Maybe you should consider putting up a 222 repeater in your area - it would be a 'first'.
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I got into 220Mhz because some friends were up on the local 220 repeater and it had coverage better then any of the 2 Meter machines in the Northern Virginia area. Those who were up on 220 seemed to have a more technical appraoch to the hobby.
I've found that the band has less noise so range is better.
SO, Better class of operators and better range.
Gear can be a problem. Only one radio that I know of that has a remote head is the old and expensive Kenwood TM-742 Triband radios with a 220 Module. They are worth the money if you can find one.
Ham radio is not just 2 meters but it can be about trying other segments of the hobby. I am up on 6 meters as well. Both 220 and 6 meters have unique aspects that make them fun to use.
The ALINCO is a great radio and I have one in my Jeep (used for public service and ARES. For ARES we use 2 meters for both voice and in some cases Packet and APRS. Having a second band allows up to use two radios without cosight interference.
The Kenwood F6 also has 220 and is a great handheld. When 2 meters get crowded try 220. We have a few in Northern VA. 224.1 and now 224.4 . ALexandria Radio club has one on 224.82 which should be up this year after a rebuild.
Love 220. Myself, and my friends use it simplex as our very own intercom around here.
Personally, I like the Tait Commercial radios for 216 to 230 MHz as they can be put onto the 222 MHz frequencies with no trouble at all. You also might look for a Kenwood (yep!) TK-517 or its like as this particular radio works originally in the 216 to 218 commercial band and will re-tune to the 1.25m band with no more than a tune-up. Just FYI.
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Evidently, the information that I got from (none the less) a Kenwood dealer was bad information. However, he did have one that I was able to take a look at. I have no further information nor can find anything more about the radio in any of my references. I was given bad information on that particular radio.
However, when I am wrong, I am not ashamed to admit it.
Hey!! Why am I in this handcart and where am I going?